7 Steps to Successfully Complete a No Spend Challenge

Saving money

Make up for overspending this summer by completing a No Spend Challenge for 30 days! It’s easier than you think!

It’s easy to spend a ton of money during the summer. You want to vacation, attend county fairs and concerts and splurge on new summer clothes. Alpine Bank doesn’t want you to put yourself in a rut, but how can you break your bad spending habits and save? We’ve got answers for you. Complete a 30-Day No Spend Challenge! It sounds intimidating, but it can be done if you follow these guidelines. If it’s just too difficult, start slow. Complete a 7-Day No Spend Challenge, take a break, then try to abstain from spending for two weeks. You can work your way up to the 30-Day Challenge.

If you’re ready to take on 30 days of no spending, check out these tips to make sure you’re successful.

Don’t purchase anything you don’t need to live for 30 days straight. This limits you to food and medicine.

For food, only buy what you need to complete recipes you can make with mostly ingredients you already have. We all have cabinets full of canned food, pasta and other non-perishables that we don’t put to use. If you can, don’t buy any new food at all throughout the 30 days. Make it a goal to use up everything you already have. Get creative with your meals and use leftovers for lunches instead of making sandwiches, which forces you to run out of bread, cheese and meat quickly.

No new toiletries – make do with what you have and samples.

Try public transportation for 30 days. For close trips, use a bike or walk.

Cancel your cable and Internet for 30 days. Complete your online work AT WORK or start going to the library.

Need entertainment? Reorganize and de-clutter. You’ll find old treasures, like old movies and books, that you can enjoy. If you know you won’t enjoy them anymore, donate them.

Focus on projects you can do around the house to keep you busy. Scrapbook, write down recipes, keep a journal, paint or read. You can do these things without spending money and they’ll make you feel productive.

Don’t stockpile! Stockpiling with food and other supplies before you begin your 30 days defeats the purpose of the challenge. It’s meant to help you use up all the great food and products you already have and help you save.

Completing a 30-Day No Spend Challenge will show how much money you spend on things you don’t really need, and maybe don’t want. Living the “simple life” for 30 days might make you happier too, and give you more quality time with your family and friends.

Drew Brauer Promoted to AVP – Application Support

John Vanderheyden, Alpine Bank EVP of Operations, is pleased to announce Andrew “Drew” Brauer has been promoted to AVP – Application Support. Mr. Brauer has been periodically involved in the banking industry for over 30 years. He first joined the Alpine Bank Family in BrauerDrew_01_20131980. After experiencing other career opportunities, he returned to the bank in 2007 as Branch Manager of the Roscoe location.

Mr. Brauer stated, “My experiences and skills have given me the ability to start…organizations, by building a cohesive team that shares the vision, and lead those organizations to grow and succeed.”

As a Rockford area native, Mr. Brauer continually gives back to the community he serves. He is a member of the Roscoe Chamber of Commerce, teaches banking fundamentals at Hononegah High School, and mentors Hononegah students through their Readiness in the Workplace program.

4 Free Workouts for This Summer

Cheap workout ideas

If you want to save money and skip the gym membership this summer, check out these workout ideas that are free, like water aerobics.

Everyone is talking about their summer workout plan and getting that bikini body, and all you can think about is how expensive those fitness classes and boot camps are! Alpine Bank understands. We know you want to save this summer and still be active and fit. Instead of spending your summer trapped in the gym, why not enjoy the great outdoors and get a workout at the same time, for free?! Check out our list of totally free workouts!

Go Geocaching

Geocaching is just a cool word for treasure hunting with GPS coordinates available on geocaching websites. Look online for local parks with geocaching opportunities. Make it a workout by trying to reach the stash in a certain amount of time.

Get Climbing

Who needs the gym rock wall when you can climb a tree? Have a buddy on stand-by just to be safe, and only climb trees with sturdy limbs.

Use Water (and Sand!) Resistance

Get in the water, squat, and shuffle from side to side, staying low. Try going faster or digging your feet into the sand for more resistance.

Get closer to nature

Who needs gym equipment? Use rocks, park benches and logs for dips and step-ups. Use a low tree limb as a pull-up bar. If you want a bicep workout, throw a rope around a tree and over a low branch. Hold the ends of the rope and stand where there is only a little slack. Lean back and use your biceps to pull you upright. Try using one leg and bending the other for a harder challenge.

You can get in shape this summer and still save money! These workouts give you a chance to enjoy the summer weather while being active. It’s all about being creative with your workouts and thinking outside the gym!

Junior Golfers Chosen for Alpine Bank Pro-Am Foursome

Pro-Am_Image

For the sixth year in a row, Alpine Bank has selected four up and coming golfers to play in the Alpine Bank foursome at this year’s Rockford Pro-Am on Monday, July 14, 2014. Alpine Bank is pleased to announce that its foursome will include: Lexi Graf, Aren Boxleitner, Marcus “Reid” Anderson and Joey Watts.

Alpine Bank returns this year as a prime sponsor of the Rockford Pro-Am. Like the last five years, the bank is choosing to fill its foursome with young, aspiring golfers, giving them the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play in such a prestigious event alongside golf professionals. In April of this year, the bank extended a special invitation to young golfers to apply to play in the Alpine Bank foursome. The application process involved an application where applicants noted their golf skill/ability, extracurricular activities and a personal statement explaining how playing at the Rockford Pro-Am would benefit them. In addition, each applicant was asked to submit a one-page letter of recommendation from a non-family member (i.e. coach, teacher, mentor, etc.). Fifteen junior golfers from the area applied to play. A selection committee reviewed the applications.

“I would like to thank all of the talented, young golfers who applied,” said Matt Roegner, executive vice president of Alpine Bank. “We were pleased to receive applications from so many skilled players, all of whom anyone would be proud to have on their team.”

In the coming weeks, Alpine Bank will choose the PGA Pro Golfer who will play alongside these talented individuals.  Last year’s foursome, with Kenny Perry, took second place in the tournament.

Alpine Bank will be hosting a special luncheon for the foursome players, as a special thank you and to become acquainted with one another.  Following the luncheon, the players will be treated to a round of golf at Forest Hills Country Club.

About Rockford Pro-Am     
The Rockford Pro-Am is the nation’s longest-running, free-standing pro-am not associated with a professional tournament. This year it will be held at Forest Hills Country Club on Monday, July 14, 2014, and will feature amateur foursomes paired with professional golfers. The foursomes play in a best-ball handicapped format, while the pros keep straight 18-hole scores. Cost is $5 and tickets are available at the gate. Parking for the Pro-Am will be available at the Kraft Food lots on Forest Hills Road and the Sears Essential lot on Riverside Boulevard. A continuous free shuttle bus will run from Sears Essentials to Forest Hills Country Club from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.therockfordproam.com.

4 Affordable Home Improvements for Summer

 

Cheap home improvements

Making your home look better doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive. Painting your front door is just one fun and quick way to spruce up your curb appeal.

Alpine Bank would like to offer you 4 affordable ideas for sprucing up your home this summer. With flowers in bloom and the sun shining bright, there is no better time to freshen up your house. Home is a place where family and friends gather and memories are made. Make this summer one to remember with several fun home projects to take on. Visit our site today to find services to help you with all your financial needs.

  1. Our first suggestion to creating a fresh look in your home is to paint the front door. While this may seem like a small change, it will make a big difference. A colored door can show your personality and set you aside from neighbors
  2. Our second suggestion is to add plants inside the home. A potted plant can be placed in the entrance to the home, kitchen, living room, or sun room, or anywhere it can receive proper sunlight. Plants have been shown to increase oxygen, improve mood, and increase focus. They are an easy find at any flower shop or farmer’s market.
  3. Our third suggestion is to replace old light fixtures with new. They can be installed easily and greatly change the feel of a room. A statement light shows that you care about the details of your home and value individuality. Go as extravagant or conservative as you feel to brighten up any room.
  4. Our fourth suggestion is to care for floors frequently and thoroughly. When floors are neglected, they collect dust and dirt that can cause scratching and long term expensive damage. By simply dusting and mopping a couple times a week, you will keep high traffic areas safe from scratches.

Alpine Bank encourages you to save money and make affordable home improvements this summer. We hope you keep us in mind when making financial decisions and don’t hesitate to drop in or give us a call today! Member FDIC.

3 Trends in Retirement Happening Today

Retirement trends

People are working longer than ever. Learn how trends like these can affect your retirement and what Alpine Bank can do to help!

Trends in today’s world are constantly changing. In pop culture, celebrities have a major influence of what is “in” and what is “out”. Movie star’s personal lives are studied for the smallest mistakes and political figures are distorted in messages received by the public. Our world is changing and it is important to stay in touch with areas that may affect you. Trends in retirement are changing and affect the lives of almost everyone. Whatever stage of life you are in, it is never too early to start thinking about your life after work. Alpine Bank is here to provide retirement expertise and Traditional and Roth IRA’s to fit your needs. We invite you to visit our website today and allow us to serve your financial requests.

Trend #1:

Semi-retirement is a common occurrence in the lives of many retirees. After they leave their full time jobs, they may take up part time work to make ends meet. It may be due to a lack of pension plans or forced retirement in the work place. By being aware of this, we hope you consider building a secure savings account today.

Trend #2:

A common belief is that those with higher incomes can and will retire earlier. However, those in high paying jobs often want to keep working and are able to. Individuals with lower income positions have had a different experience in the work force and may want to take advantage of retirement benefits as soon as possible.

Trend #3:

Social Security is now allowing people ages 62 to 70 to continue working while building up credit. They can keep working and receive the same lifelong benefits. Companies are also starting to allow their employees to retire when they want without the pull of a pension plan or forced retirement.

It is never too soon to start financially planning for your retirement. We encourage you to open a savings account with Alpine Bank and start saving today! Member FDIC.

Reduce Your Financial Stress with these 6 Tips

Financial stress relief from Alpine Bank

Learn how to bust financial stress and live a better life free from the worries of money!

Do you fear getting your monthly bank statement? Does it feel like there is a weight on your shoulders any time you think about money? Do you feel hopeless about your current financial situation? If so, you are suffering from financial stress, and you are not alone.

 

A 2013 study by Financial Finesse found that 83 percent of employees report some financial stress, with 16 percent saying it is high or overwhelming. Financial stress’s consequences aren’t limited to your bank account, either; it can translate into physical health symptoms, causing high blood pressure and other health issues.

 

Since May is National Blood Pressure Month, Alpine Bank thinks this is as good a time as any to help you keep your blood pressure in a healthy range by lowering your financial stress levels. Here are a few tips for those of you stressing about your money situation to hopefully get you back on solid ground.

 

  • Look for ways to reduce your debt- is there anything you can sell to help pay down your debt? You can also try refinancing your debt through your creditors, who may give you a better rate if they know you’re looking to refinance.
  • See where your money goes- scour your debit and credit card statements to see where you are racking up the most spending. You can also use free websites like Mint to help, and keep receipts for every purchase you make.
  • Cut costs- once you see where your money is going, see which expenses you can cut or eliminate altogether. Even small savings can add up to a lot over time.
  • Prioritize your spending- make sure the essentials – rent/mortgage, food, utilities, student loans – are covered before you pay down your unsecured debt, such as credit card debt, which can generally be negotiated.
  • Learn to haggle or ask for help- you can try negotiating with your creditors directly or ask a non-profit credit counseling agency for help.
  • Build an emergency fund- having $1,000 in your savings account can go a long way to giving you some peace of mind and reducing your anxiety.

 

Being stressed from your finances can seem like an inescapable trap. However, by creating a logical, step-by-step plan, you can free yourself from the crushing weight of debt and other stressors. Just be aware that it may take some time and lots of willpower to do. If you need help, Alpine Bankwill gladly help in any way we can. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Save Money and Go Green with these 7 Tips

Green living tips from Alpine Bank

Going green can be an easy and frugal change to your lifestyle.

There’s little doubt that spring is a very beautiful time of year here in our part of Illinois. The grass is green, flowers have bloomed, and soon the recently planted fields will start growing in. But nature isn’t the only thing that can get greener this time of year.

 

Your home and how you live are also two things that can “go green” while also helping you save some green. This is a win-win situation, because not only does Alpine Bank advocate smart financial decisions, but also living responsibly in regard to our environment. That’s why we have come up with a few ways you can help out Mother Nature and save a little money as well.

 

Seal up the cracks- this not only keeps cool air in as it warms up, but it also keeps cold air out in the winter. And there’s an added bonus: it can help you save up to 30 percent on your heating and cooling bill

 

Go for a low-flow showerhead- the name says “low-flow” but there doesn’t feel like much difference with most low-flow heads. Also, showerheads with the WaterSense label could save up to 2,900 gallons per year on average.

 

Revamp your thermostat- a programmable thermostat will help you maximize the efficiency of your heating and cooling, meaning less waste and more money in your pocket.

 

Nix the disposable household products- paper plates, paper towels, napkins, aluminum foil, and zipper bags can all be replaced with alternatives that you can use multiple times.

 

Repurpose- before tossing anything out, ask yourself if there is another purpose it could serve. A lot of the time the answer will be “yes.”

 

Buy used- there may be a stigma to buying second-hand goods, but you can’t argue with the savings you’ll find at Goodwill or other thrift stores.

 

Learn how to cook or start a garden- the less takeout or fast food you buy, the fewer wrappers, bags, and other packaging you go through that become trash.

 

Are there other ways you can think of to go green without breaking the bank? Let us know by leaving us a comment on our Facebook page.

 

We hope these ideas have given you some inspiration to look at your home and lifestyle and find areas where you can reduce waste. If you need help increasing your financial efficiency, come by your nearest Alpine Bank office today and we’ll see how we can help. We hope to see you soon!

Attention Users of Trusteer Rapport

Alpine Bank has received notice that IBM Trusteer has become aware of a phishing e-mail campaign targeting IBM Trusteer. The campaign started on May 9, 2014.

The fraudulent e-mails appear to come from Trusteer with the sender’s e-mail address masquerading as support@trusteer.com, an e-mail account that is no longer in use.

These e-mails are part of a spear phishing campaign that uses IBM Trusteer’s brand to distribute a malicious executable file.

The emails are addressed directly to recipients containing their full name and e-mail address. The content of the message requests that recipients run the attached file in order to upgrade their IBM Trusteer Rapport software version.

Please note that IBM Trusteer will not distribute Rapport updates as email attachments.

In response, IBM Trusteer has already begun rolling out an update that will protect users from accidentally opening the malicious file. Further recommendations from IBM Trusteer are as follows:

1.        Users who received this email are requested to delete it immediately.

2.        Users who may have already launched the attached file should be instructed to refrain from Online Banking, and contact Alpine Bank’s eBanking Department at 815.398.6500 or by email at ebanking@bankalpine.com.

Chris Johnson Joins Alpine Trust & Investment Group

JohnsonChris_05_2014Bill Roop, President of Alpine Bank, has announced that Chris Johnson has recently joined Alpine Trust & Investment Group as Vice President and Trust Officer. Mr. Johnson brings with him nearly 20 years of experience in the financial industry, with 16 of those years in trust and investments. His office is located in the Alpine Bank location at 600 South State Street in Belvidere.

Mr. Johnson grew up in the DeKalb area and attended Northern Illinois University, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Finance and Master of Business Administration (MBA).  He, his wife and four children are excited to be back in the area to serve the communities he calls home.

“On behalf of Alpine Trust and Investment Group, I am pleased to welcome Chris to our team of trust experts,” said Lee Mayer, Executive Vice President and Senior Trust Officer. “His expertise and commitment to his clients exemplifies our fundamental principle of people helping people.”